Slavery: History and Historians

By Peter J. Parish | Go to book overview

not odious, but many recent authorities support the conventional view that slaves worked longer hours and had fewer days off even than nineteenth-century industrial workers, and certainly longer hours and fewer days off than free blacks after the Civil War.27 As a general rule, slave labor was both intensive and extensive.

Questions concerning the work of the slaves show how far the controversy provoked by Time on the Cross has helped to shape the agenda for recent debate and further study, though few of the book's conclusions remain unchallenged or unscathed. The work of Genovese and others will almost certainly prove more durable, not least because it never loses sight of the interconnections between slave labor and many other aspects of the South's peculiar institution and the life of the slave community. Slave work is central to the study of slave society. It leads directly into consideration of even broader issues--on one hand, the overall efficiency and profitability of the Southern slave economy, and on the other, the quality of slave life, the nature of the slave personality, and the development of slave culture.


NOTES
1.
For discussion of the implications of this trend, see below, 60.
2.
Boles, Black Southerners, 107. See also 75-6. Some of the implications of the statistics on slave ownership are discussed in Oakes, The Ruling Race, 37-41.
3.
Charles Joyner, Down by the Riverside: A South Carolina Slave Community ( Urbana, Ill., 1984), 34.
4.
Otto H. Olsen, "Historians and the Extent of Slaveownership in the Southern United States", Civil War History 18 ( 1972): 101-16, especially 111-3, 115-6.
5.
Oakes, The Ruling Race, chapter 2, "Master-Class Pluralism," especially 37- 40, 51-2, 57-65.
6.
Willie Lee Rose, ed., A Documentary History of Slavery in North America ( New York, 1976), 362.
7.
Paul D. Escott, Slavery Remembered: A Record of Twentieth-Century Slave Narratives (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1979), 56- 7; Orville V. Burton, In My Father's House Are Many Mansions: Family and Community in Edgefield, South Carolina (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1985), 182-4.
8.
Drew Gilpin Faust, James Henry Hammond and the Old South: A Design for Mastery ( Baton Rouge, La., 1982), 74-5, 92.
9.
Oakes, The Ruling Race, 153-79.
10.
There is a considerable literature on the organization and management of slave labor. See for example William K. Scarborough , The Overseer: Plantation Management in the Old South ( Baton Rouge, La., 1966); William L. Van Deburg , The Slave Drivers: Black Agricultural Labor Supervisors in the Antebellum South (Westport, Ct., 1979); James O. Breeden, ed., Advice among Masters: The Ideal in Slave Management in the Old South (West-

-41-

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Slavery: History and Historians
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - The Paradoxical Institution: 1
  • Notes 10
  • 2 - The Making of an Institution 11
  • Notes 24
  • 3 - The Labor of the Slaves 26
  • Notes 41
  • 4 - The Business of Slavery 43
  • Notes 61
  • 5 - The Lives of the Slaves 64
  • Notes 93
  • 6 - Variations, Exceptions, and Comparisons 97
  • Notes 121
  • 7 - Slavery and Southern White Society 124
  • Notes 146
  • 8 - The Death Throes of Slavery 149
  • Notes 165
  • Bibliographic Essay 167
  • Index 189
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